I love studying the gospel! What I love the most about studying the scriptures is that some days you can simply read some verses to feel inspired; but on other days you can take the time to dig in deeper on just one subject or verse. When studying the gospel, we have the ability to enjoy the complexities and the simplicities of it all. I also love that multiple people can read the same passage of scripture but each see something completely different.
I love the new Come Follow Me curriculum for the same reason. Some weeks you can dive into the chapters and study questions, while other weeks you can feel satisfied getting through the verses. There is so much flexibility with no major pressure. I love it!
With that said, this last week I was swamped with making ministering assignment changes so I was able to read the chapters but not necessarily dig as deep as I would have liked. So, I thought I would share some of my favorite study helps today.
First of all, the Come Follow Me manuals have a lot of extra resources to draw from. This week there are links to the Book of Mormon video collection as well as links to additional scriptures to connect thoughts and ideas. Most weeks they also have a conference talk or two that can enhance our knowledge and understanding on a particular topic. I can't help but think about how much work goes into making these manuals, so we can value that effort by utilizing the resources there.
As I mentioned in my post about questions, as a family we have tried to go just a little bit deeper in our family scripture study. One day we'll have many thoughts and questions shared, others we'll have almost nothing. To foster deeper learning, we purchased journal-style scriptures for our children. One child in particular said, "Mom, I love this scripture journal. It is just so fun to read scriptures now." Maybe it's the nuance of having something different, and maybe the novelty will wear off, but it has been a good tool for our kids to have as they've explored the scriptures this year.
For Primary and younger children at home, I have utilized the Primary website so much. With all of the recent changes I panicked a moment thinking maybe they got rid of my favorite feature. Let's say your child has a question about Nephi building a ship. If you go to the resources by topic section of the website, you can see several articles, stories, and activities on the subject. Other topics will have music and videos also. This was my go-to resource while I served in primary because it expanded my own enthusiasm for the basic principles of the gospel. And when a teacher (or parent) is excited about the lesson topic, the kids can feel that and will be excited too! (Of course, there is also plenty of additional material in Come Follow Me manuals as well, don't forget that!)
My favorite resource when studying the scriptures is the BYU Scripture Citation site. If there is a verse you want to take deeper, you can find every conference talk ever given that quotes the verse. The information goes clear back to Joseph Smith. It's an invaluable resource I have loved for years!
Aside from Come Follow Me, when preparing a lesson for Relief Society we ask our teachers to read all of the footnotes from whatever talk from which they are teaching. Again, I think the Apostles have prepare far beyond their 20-minute talk. They have studied and edited and prayed for hours, making their message a succinct as possible. I want to know what happened in all that study time! It's in the footnotes! And it's usually within those footnotes than I have found what our particular sisters need most from the lesson. We cannot underestimate those footnotes!
I also enjoy BYU Studies. They usually have further study options on whichever curriculum we are following in any given year. These articles can range from spiritual to geographical to intellectual articles on any of the themes highlighted in the Come Follow Me chapters. It love it!
Last point: I have given up on having any detailed or strenuous scripture marking systems. I just mark and write. Sometimes I can find themes within one of the scripture blocks and try to use the same color throughout in that one section, but usually it's pretty random. I find that I can see connections and think outside the box a little more when I don't stick myself inside a marking system.
So, there you have it. It's not comprehensive, but there is plenty here for me to get a good in-depth study of the scriptures when I can and want to.
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"I am grateful for emphasis on reading the scriptures. I hope that for you this will become something far more enjoyable than a duty; that, rather, it will become a love affair with the word of God. I promise you that as you read, your minds will be enlightened and your spirits will be lifted. At first it may seem tedious, but that will change into a wondrous experience with thoughts and words of things divine."
Gordon B. Hinckley, CR April 1995